1. Meeting the friends of your new significant other.
No matter how nice these friends are, no matter how excited they are to meet you and your SO is to introduce you, there is just going to be an incredibly intimidating element to the whole ordeal. I mean, yes, you’re awesome — but are you going to be awesome totally out of context? With all of these people you’ve never met? Who have totally different references and senses of humor? Not to mention the unspoken “so who is this new thing that has been/will be taking away our friend?” element about it. You are essentially being put on stage for a play you haven’t rehearsed for, and have to prove yourself to a group of people who will be extremely important to your budding relationship. I don’t care how confident you are in your daily life, if you aren’t insecure about this at first, I don’t believe you’re a human being.
2. Snooty salespeople in fancy stores.
Is there anything worse than walking into a store — whether to look around, or perhaps to buy something you’ve really been saving up for — and being looked at/treated like you are not worthy of breathing the same air as these incredibly fancy products? I mean, I don’t want to be an elitist dick about it, but every time a salesperson gets incredibly bitchy about my presence in their too-rich-for-my-blood store, I just want to scream, “YOU WORK RETAIL, CALM THE FUCK DOWN.” I’ve done that job. I know that giving people the evil eye is a choice, and there is no reason to make it. Staring at the customer like they’re constantly on the verge of stealing/throwing up on one of the precious designer outfits for sale is only going to make them feel profoundly inadequate, and dissuade them from ever actually buying anything. Come on, no one needs that.
3. Ordering drinks when you’ve just turned 21.
Even though you know that you have the proper I.D. to back up your liquor-filled purchase, there is always something a little nerve-wracking about being in the position of buying a legitimate, big kid drink at a fancy bar and not wanting to look like the total amateur who is too accustomed to swigging vodka out of a Deer Park bottle to know what they’re doing. Are you ordering a “cheesy” drink? Are you drinking it too fast? Does everyone around you think you’re underage? It essentially feels like you’re a little kid who’s allowed to sit at the grown-up table for the first time at Thanksgiving and doesn’t quite know how to properly hold a fork and knife yet.
4. Going to a party at which you only know the person who brought you.
The thing about this is that it could really go either way: you could end up having a great time and making a ton of new friends in the process, or you could end up sitting by yourself in the corner sipping a shitty light beer and talking to the house pet. You just don’t know until you actually go. And it would make you an ass to insist that your friend spend his/her entire time taking care of you — you’re eventually going to have to branch out and start talking to people yourself. I think we’ve all been to enough parties that ended up filled with total sketchballs who spend most of their time chain smoking and talking about weird inside jokes where you’re kind of like, “How does my friend know these people again?” to know that taking this risk doesn’t always work out super well.
With the possible exception of weddings of close friends/family at which we have a ton of friends to hang out with, weddings are often a stress-filled, insecurity-inducing affair. Most notably, perhaps, for women in their 20s who basically have the words “Ask me about when I am going to be walking down the aisle myself” tattooed across their forehead for the entire event. You are going to be fielding inevitable questions and assumptions left and right about your supposed desire to tie the knot ASAP and, should you be there with a significant other, the unspoken pressure to consider the long-term with one another. “Not even wanting to get married right now” is simply not an option. You are obviously jealous of the bride and obviously on some kind of final countdown to be doing this yourself. Essentially you’re just going to have to ignore all of the light jabs and sideways glances, gorge yourself on free cake and champagne, and try to focus on the positives, such as the more attractive members of the wedding party.
6. Meeting really successful people who are younger than you.
Is there ever really a proper response to this? “Oh, hey, you’re 21 and have your/my dream job in an amazing field and traveling the world and making a ton of money and generally being perfect. Sweet.” I mean, there is obviously that awkward feeling of pity that you know is kind of hovering around you like a big, farty cloud, and you certainly don’t want to acknowledge it — I mean, there is just such an overwhelming urge to yell out, “THAT’S COOL BASICALLY I LIKE HANGING OUT WITH MY COMPUTER AND CRYING,” and then run away as quickly as possible. But you just have to swallow that insecurity like an enormous antibiotic and get on with the conversation. Unless they’re also incredibly good-looking, in which case you can just kill them.